Maintaining the airfield takes a special team

Sep 1, 2019 | Aviation, Careers, Safety & Security

LAS Maintenance

Just like roads and freeways, McCarran’s runways and taxiways must be maintained constantly. That’s where the airport’s Airfield Maintenance team comes in.

The team consists of more than 25 employees who work day in and day out painting, making repairs, cleaning and even pulling weeds to keep the airfield safe and operational. With 32 miles of runways and taxiways and 10 miles of fenceline, it’s a big job.

“From where the aircraft are parked at the gates, all the way out to the perimeter fenceline, that’s our responsibility,” said Brian Bien, Maintenance and Operations Supervisor.

One of the team’s primary tasks is making sure runways and taxiways are marked in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations. The desert sun takes a toll on those markings, requiring constant attention. Using special equipment and materials, airfield maintenance goes through around 7,000 gallons of paint per year to ensure runways, taxiways and other surface markings are visible to pilots and those who drive on the airfield.

The team is also tasked with upkeep of the unpaved surfaces on the airfield. They repair cracks in the concrete and spread recycled asphalt millings to help keep dust under control.

With parts of the airfield always in use, coordination is key. The Department of Aviation works closely with the FAA and other stakeholders, having weekly meetings to discuss current and future projects. The meetings allow everyone to discuss and coordinate logistics and plan for alternate arrangements during maintenance projects.

“It’s all about information sharing. Communication is critical as far as safety is concerned, so we’re just making sure there are no surprises,” Bien said.

Airfield maintenance workers use a variety of equipment, like surface-grading vehicles, line-painting machinery and water trucks for dust control. Rubber from aircraft tires builds up and can obscure markings on the runways if left unattended. Using a high-pressure water and vacuum system, workers remove nearly 6,000 pounds of rubber per year.

Airfield maintenance requires round-the-clock attention, with the team working day and night to keep operations running smoothly and safely. But for Bien and the rest of the team, the work is rewarding.

“At the end of the day, we get the satisfaction of knowing we had a direct contribution to the safety of our passengers,” he said.

LAS Maintenance

LAS Maintenance

LAS Maintenance

LAS Maintenance

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